Life 101: 4 Classes Every Person Should Take Once in Their Life

I wish I could say that I have done research for this post, or at least asked the smartest people I know the answer to this question:

417685308_318bd2b808.jpgWhat class should every person take once in their life?

I love this question and wanted to write a post with my own totally random opinion, based on no real facts, surveys or research and ask my readers for their own ideas in the comments if they so desire to share.

This question was brought to my attention because I have been doing a lot of talks on preparing families for college, kids moving away, parent empty nesters, what kids can expect, how to prepare, etc.

At a recent engagement, I was asked: “Is there a class that you think every college student should take in college?”  I was dumbfounded and I think blurbbled (word???) over the question and mentioned something about having a really interesting Chinese history teacher.

When I got home I started thinking about the most helpful classes, self-help books (for some reason I really like self-help books), mentors or lectures I have ever attended and decided to make a list for my readers.

I truly think, again based on no real research, that parents should do their best to teach these skills to their kids, as I have found them most helpful, relevant and interesting in my life.

**Note: These classes are only fruitful if you have good teachers.  I have taken the same class over because I thought I was cheated with an unpassionate, uninformed teacher and loved the class second time around.

**Note: I actually mean take CLASSES in these topics, not just a self-help book or getting a few tips from an expert, these are classes where you need to learn a skill set in a structured formal environment like school.

0-12 years-old
Creative Writing
-Now, I do not just mean English, I mean creative writing.   I think the earlier kids can learn to enjoy writing about something they find interesting, the more it unlocks the creative juices.   Creative writing is such a good exercise for expression, analytical writing and creativity. (I am planning on writing a post on how to encourage your kids to write more from an early age).

12-18 years-old
Public Speaking
-I do not care where you live, where your kid goes to school, how many oral projects they have how shy, how outgoing, how intelligent or how dumb your child is…they need to take a public speaking course.  At one point, I was shy, yes actually shy and nervous in front of people.  I was forced into a public speaking class in High School and it was one of the hardest, but best classes I have ever taken.  Now maybe I am biased because my dad wrote a book on public speaking, but I truly think my peers who have basic public speaking skills do better in life.  A class is important because they teach tricks and skills to reaching an audience in all different locals—how to give a business presentation at the drop of a hat, articulate well with a group of friends at dinner or give a keynote speech

Psychology 110
-I did have one of the greatest teachers e.v.e.r for Psychology 110, Professor Edwards at Emory University.  It shows how much I value the skill and the teacher when I got a B- in the class and worked my butt off.  The skills and ideas I learned in the class constantly come up in conversation, when I read business books, dealing with users, talking with my boyfriend—everything!

Basic Massage
-Weren’t expecting that right?  I took a basic massage class and it has served me so well.   Men and women both should take this class for the following reasons:

  1. I learned more about my own body, posture, how to help back pain and headaches for myself
  2. Great conversation starter
  3. It has greatly helped all of my relationships.  I make my boyfriend mad because I talk too much about teens and parents—want a massage, babe? I need to ask for extra money from my dad to copyright my ebook—want a shoulder rub dad?  My friend is having a stressful day and I want to be supportive—hey, you want a hand massage?
  4. It was really fun.

(I have to say) What everyone usually says you should take, but never really served me well:
Economics 101

Maybe I didn’t have a good teacher…but Econ 101 has never helped me.  I do business, I read newspapers and I only took this darn class because everyone said you have to take Econ.  They lied.  I think you can get just as much if not more from reading the newspapers or taking an International Studies class—which, these days is way more important.

Any additions?

3 Responses to “Life 101: 4 Classes Every Person Should Take Once in Their Life”

  1. Charlie A. Roy
    March 27, 2008 at 5:12 pm #

    Classes everyone should take:
    1. Morality and Happiness: a general philosophy topic that pushes the core questions of meaning: Who are we? Why are we here? What is happiness ? Who is God? etc. Without contemplating these questions we will never be spiritual adults.
    2. World History
    Those who don’t know the past are doomed to repeat the failures of previous generations.
    3. World Religions
    Global competency requires global knowledge and mutual respect for various traditions.
    4. Economics: okay so your teacher sucked but really you have to understand that the economy must exist to serve people not the other way around. The classic struggle to get it right often animates much of modern life: communism vs. capitalism, stewardship, fair trade etc. Understanding how it works helps us to be financially literate.

    Classes to forget:
    British foods: learning to cook kidney cake and lung pie with Hagas could be skipped. Seriously though: great island, good people, crappy food with the exception of fish and chips. If you want to eat go to France – they get food.

  2. Vanessa
    March 27, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

    “Classes to forget:
    British foods”

    I could not agree with you more, they have the best accents, and are the nicest people but lets just say I love like ten pounds when I was there for two months because nothing was edible.

    = ) thanks for your comment!

  3. Shamima
    January 17, 2010 at 12:17 am #

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the creative writing, I was really encouraged on writing between ages 9-11 and that served as a firm foundation on what I would later build on, although I didn’t expect it to it also helps a great deal with subjects such as Religous Studies, History and of course Literature and Language at GCSE, giving me quite an edge.
    It’s sad really that I’m one of only two students in my form who appreciates writing, all else cannot stand it, nor does my brother and a large mojority of the students at his school. My high school concentrates largely on Sciences and Maths which is of great benefit to me but I regard myself as being lucky to have had that early nurturing.

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